Am I expecting too much from carers?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Plymum, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. Plymum

    Plymum Registered User

    Jan 9, 2014
    My Mum has carers four times a day. I arrived this morning to visit her. I found clothes and bed linen covered in diahorrea some washed and on the clothes horse others just lying in the washing machine dirty. I looked in the carers notes and discovered the diahorrea started yesterday . My Mum also has an enormous cut on her arm and gigantic bruise. She clearly has no idea when or how she did it. As it only took me 5 minutes of being in the house to "discover" all these things am I expecting too much to expect a carer( visits of 45 minutes) to have seen these and telephoned me ... My Mum is 90 and in later stages of heart disease, the care agency and carers(?) know this.
    I feel very upset at the moment that carers "go through the motions" of writing in the notes "all ok, lifeline on" etc without really noticing what's happening.
  2. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    Email the Care Agency, CC it to the CQC and to Social Services. After that you should phone the Care Agency manager and demand a meeting to discuss the inadequate service they are providing. We have had a few problems over the years and only improved matters by doing just that.
    To be fair to the carers many of them are pushed for time and have already worked several long shifts back to back. Whatever the reason you should be relying on these carers to share the burden, not add to it Plymum. Good luck in sorting it out.
  3. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    #3 Shedrech, Feb 8, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
    Hi Plymum
    I hope your mum is OK
    Sorry you had to walk in to all of that
    I wouldn't have been happy either (when dad was at home) - I appreciate that the carers have just so much time and may not get everything done - leaving such things around, though, is a real worry - and I'd definitely have expected a comment in the notes about everything
    dad's carers even left me personal post-its and did call me at times if there was something out of the ordinary
    if there was anything I wasn't happy about I'd just call the agency and let them know, not a rant, but they need to know what's going on,that you aren't happy at all and you want this logged on her notes - make it clear to them that you expect to be notified and that actually you'd be glad of a phone call as then you can be prepared for whatever when you visit, after all what you want is to be working as a team supporting your mum - then if you don't get a positive response go on the offensive - you might want to make an official complaint now?
    hopefully they will realise that you are carefully monitoring your mum's care and will co-operate
    best wishes

    PS do you realise you've posted this twice?
  4. Plymum

    Plymum Registered User

    Jan 9, 2014
    Thankyou nae sporran and Shedrech for your comments. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer .
  5. meme

    meme Registered User

    Aug 29, 2011
    #5 meme, Feb 8, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
    with washing.. my mothers carers who also came 4 times a day would sometimes start the washing and the next carer would take it out and put in dryer..and the next one empty dryer etc etc...they only have so much time. It seems like you should call in the district nurse to dress her cuts and bruise. But also a good idea to ring the carers supervisor and question how they are dealing with your mother and her washing and cleaning.
  6. Plymum

    Plymum Registered User

    Jan 9, 2014
    Thankyou meme
  7. AnneED

    AnneED Registered User

    Feb 19, 2012
    East Yorkshire UK
    I have not had this problem with care staff but I have had others (failure to get medication and give it over a 2 day period!) and I constantly keep in touch with the agency because I know things go wrong.

    I think that if someone becomes ill then the care staff/agency should be contacting a relative - they let me know if Mum's frozen meals run low; how much more important if a relative is ill!

    I would let the agency know very clearly (and as neutrally as you can manage!) probably in writing what you have found and what you expect. If the care staff didn't have time to sort out the issue then they should refer back to their manager.

    Care staff do vary of course and it may have been that some staff were conscientious in their time and cleared up as best they could and others were less keen so didn't follow up as they should but it's down to the agency to tackle that and if they don't then it is a care quality issue. If your Mum's cut and bruise were evident then that should have been followed up no matter how time limited the staff were.

    I know that Mum's care staff are generally good but I have flagged up all sorts of, mostly smaller, issues which were unsatisfactory and it's really important to do this in order to feel confident about the care.
  8. Plymum

    Plymum Registered User

    Jan 9, 2014
    Absolutely, Thankyou AnneED
  9. cerridwen

    cerridwen Registered User

    Dec 29, 2012
    Hi Plymum
    I had a similar problem with my Dad's carers before he eventually went into a care home. Every week I was phoning to complain. Dad's care agency were pretty good, but Dad still caused them some problems because of the dementia. There are a number of sad truths here:
    1. Carers only have a limited time to deal with their clients. Dad's carers rushed in, gave him his meds, checked his bedding, cooked him a ready meal which they placed in front of him as they were leaving. Dad wasn't eating them. At the next shift the carer arrived, threw the dinner away and gave him another one. No-one thought to check his drinking and eating and he got skinny, anaemic and dehydrated. I was beside myself with worry.
    2. The quality of the care workers varies enormously. I went up the wall Christmas 2014 when I returned from visiting my mother-in-law to find that my Dad had been sleeping in a soiled bed for three days because the carer "couldn't find clean bed linen". It was a tiny one bedroom flat with a large airing cupboard in the 20 foot hallway. You don't have to be a genius to work out where the bed linen was.
    3. The combination of varying quality of care workers and the fact that they don't have much time means that caring for dementia clients is very challenging for a care agency when the dementia is anything more than mild memory loss.
    My Dad went into a care home in July 2015 after several spells in hospital because the carers weren't caring for him properly. He is healthier, happier and his memory is better than its been for years. He is eating heartily and has made new friends. Before that, I couldn't rest; I was working full time and doing the carers job for them as well. Something had to give and I nearly had a breakdown.
    Please complain to the care agency manager. Be very specific about what you expect from them and put it in writing in an email. You might also want your Mum's GP to become involved, so a word with them wouldn't go amiss. My Dad's GP was very supportive.
  10. notsogooddtr

    notsogooddtr Registered User

    Jul 2, 2011
    Another issue is that carers can only do what is specifically covered in the care plan.They don't have time to make sure food is actually eaten,this was a problem for us even when parents went into extra sheltered accommodation.Unfortunately anything other than very mild dementia seems to require 24/7 supervision either from family or a care home.Like most people we tried everything but eventually a care home was the only option.I'm not saying my parents were happy but they were no more unhappy.And they were(Dad still is)much safer.No hospital admissions in almost 2 years,prior to NH it was every couple of weeks
  11. Plymum

    Plymum Registered User

    Jan 9, 2014
    Thankyou for your advice cerridwen and notsogooddtr. My Mum is terminally ill and was only given 6 months to live last April. Because I have POA and because I didn't think she had long to live I have been trying to follow my Mums wishes which are to stay at home. I work full time and have no family so I find caring stressful enough without having to monitor carers!
  12. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Registered User

    Sep 13, 2013
    Monitoring carers is extremely stressful but unfortunately, it's essential. When we were going through similar with my mother, I always wondered what happened to people who had no relatives, and therefore noone to check up on what the carers were doing. I dread to think.
  13. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    North East
    I'm the same as Daisy Duck. I have to check up on the carers for me dad too. My mum still lives at home and is his 24/7 carer but we have carers in every morning to get him showered, help him dress and make sure his toes are dry, cream his body and arms and check if his bed is ok, if not change it. My sister checked the bed shortly before a carer was to leave and asked her why she hadn't done it. She was very sorry hit she didn't have time to read the care plan!!!!!!! What!!!! How can anyone go into a strangers home and just decide what they are going to do??? The mind boggles. Care plans are there for a reason.
    It happened several times so we have taken to writing in the carers record, documenting date and time when we have found a dirty bed that has been left and we changed it. We write this in a different coloured pen so it stands out so any carer writing in the log will see it. So far so good. It means the actual care is given.
    We have said several times, what on earth happens to the people with no one to look out for them? All I can think is ...this will be me one day, if I don't fight for good standards now there will be no hope when my time comes.
  14. little shettie

    little shettie Registered User

    Nov 10, 2009
    I can so relate to this. Had similar problems when my mum lived alone. In the end having spoken to the care manager at the agency several times, nothing was being done their end so I contacted the CQC (Care Quality Commission) and I ended up changing to another agency. One of the problems I found was the average age of the carers going into my mum was approximately 18! They were clueless and clearly had little training and certainly no life skills to deal with an elderly lady with dementia. When I had a new agency in place, I requested more experienced mature carers and for the most part it worked ok. You need to sit down with the agency and get it in writing exactly what their duties are and you ask to be contacted immediately if any problems arise. I hope you get sorted xx
  15. SueShell

    SueShell Registered User

    Sep 13, 2012
    Unfortunately I found the carers useless, apart from just one who used to care for Mum. They only do exactly what's on the care plan and they don't do that very well. It added so much stress to an already stressed out daughter (me), without having to constantly tell the carers to do their job properly. However, having said that the carers do have to dash from person to person and its not easy if they don't have their own transport. Just don't expect too much of them and you won't be disappointed.

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